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Like many towns in the region, Bentonville suffered heavy losses during the Civil War. All but 12 buildings were burned, but by the turn of the 20th century, the city had recovered and began to grow again and hasn't stopped since.

The county seat of Benton County, Bentonville has an estimated population of 15,000 as of 1995. The 1990 census showed the city with a population of 11,257, but continued increases in housing construction have fueled been fueled by an inflow of people to the region.

Bentonville was named the county seat in 1836, but a site wasn't chosen until Nov. 7, 1837. The town wasn't incorporated until 1873.

It is best known now as the home of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's leading discount chain. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, Wal-Mart has grown from a small family-owned business into an international corporation, spreading stores and warehouses across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Walton's first store, the Walton 5 and 10, is renovated and operated as a museum on the city's square.

The city is governed by a mayor-council form of government, and officials are elected to four-year terms. The city is divided into four wards, and two alderman are elected from each ward.


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